Ohio can still have sports betting by the time frame established in bill language, if legislation passes when lawmakers return in September.
In late June, the Ohio Senate included sports betting language in a bill previously passed by the House. However, the House opted not to concur before the legislature recessed for the summer.
The Senate language tasked the Ohio Casino Control Commission (CCC) with starting the application process for sports wagering licenses on Jan. 1, 2022, and begin handing out licenses by April 1.
Commission deputy executive director Rick Anthony tells PlayOhio that the regulatory body could still meet those deadlines if lawmakers and the governor complete a bill in September.
Anthony says it would take the CCC six months to complete the process of developing rules. And if lawmakers and the governor agreed on making it an emergency measure, he said the Commission could do it in three months.
But will Ohio lawmakers be ready to move in September?
Before heading to summer break, House Speaker Bob Cupp pledged to take up sports betting in September.
“Over the summer, we’re going to be working on that to try to finalize it so when we come back in September, that’s one of the first things we do.”
However, a month later, Ohio lawmakers have yet to form a conference committee to discuss HB 29, the bill with the latest sports betting language. It’s possible lawmakers discard HB 29 and start elsewhere.
Sen. Kirk Schuring, who took the lead on sports betting negotiations for the Senate, told PlayOhio he is “still working on a plan to get it done in early September.”
But it’s not guaranteed that lawmakers take up sports betting immediately. Sen. Kenny Yuko warned PlayOhio that redistricting, not sports betting, will be the legislative priority when the legislature reconvenes.
The Senate returns to action Sept. 8, with the House coming back Sept. 15.
How Ohio left off with sports betting language
The Ohio sports betting language took a sharp turn in the final days before the legislative break.
In S 176, which the Senate passed in mid-June, sports teams were given preference over casinos/racinos. And county limits could have kept casinos/racinos from having sportsbooks.
That didn’t go over with many from the House. Schuring worked with some colleagues from the other chamber on the new language in H 29.
Key details of the new bill included:
- Casinos/racinos join sports teams in receiving preferred standing for licenses.
- Permits 25 Type A mobile sports wagering licenses and 40 Type B brick-and-mortar licenses.
- Casinos/racinos can have two mobile skins from launch, sports teams one mobile skin.
- Counties with more than 800,000 people can have five retail sportsbooks, at least 400,000 get three sportsbooks, and at least 100,000 get one.
- Sports wagering is allowed on professional, international/Olympic, and college sports, esports and horse racing.
- A Type C license allows two sports betting kiosks at restaurants and bars that hold a liquor license. It limits wager amounts to $200 a day and bet types to spreads, moneyline and over/under.
It’s unclear if the House has any major issues with the bill. Ohio casinos/racinos now support the legislation that would legalize retail and online sports betting in Ohio.